Dogs. They make us feel happy and loved, they teach us patience and gratitude, all while remaining the best listeners ever. Pets have made their marks on families all over the world, ranking number one in the hearts of loving human parents. What would a world without dogs be like? It’s too horrible to even think it!

But, suppose you came home one day to discover your furry family member missing. He has bolted from an open garden gate and is now wandering somewhere all alone. This can definitely feel like the end of your world. While this can be a heart dropping moment for any pet parent, imagine not only searching for your lost dog but doing so right after a storm has destroyed your house and everything in it. The James family of New Jersey knows this all too well.

When Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012, the result for many families in the storm’s path was complete devastation. For Charles and Elicia James, having their home damaged was just the start to a long road of hurt. The family dog, three-year-old Reckless, ran off after becoming scared by the storm, leaving his collar caught on the fence. They searched for as long as they could, but soon had to re-focus on the destruction to their home caused by Sandy.

“It was like losing a family member,” said Chuck James. “My kids were upset, my wife was upset, I was upset.”

The James family never gave up hope they would one day find Reckless and bring him home. So imagine their surprise 18 months later when they visited a local animal shelter looking to adopt a new buddy. There was Reckless, sitting in the first stall! What are the odds?

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The overjoyed family found out later that Reckless had been so close to home, just blocks away, picked up as a stray. He came in with no identification — his collar slipped off as he ran from the home and he was not microchipped at that time. Six months living in the shelter, a new name, Lucas, and a microchip later, shelter volunteers said it “seemed like he was looking for someone.”

“Now we know Lucas (whose real name is Reckless) was searching for his family!” as posted the Monmouth County SPCA posted on their Facebook page.

Image source: Bill Denver for New York Daily News